In celebration of Hawaii joining the Union this day in 1959 watch these Californians try to pronounce the names of places in Hawaii. Then cut up some pineapple, close your eyes and feel that cool Hawaiian breeze.
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One of our favorite geeky aviation tools is Flight Radar 24. You can watch planes fly in real time around the world. If you download the app you can also point your phone to the sky or on a runway to find out what’s going on.
Enjoy & Happy Aviation Day.
The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, is ratified by Tennessee, giving it the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it the law of the land. The amendment was the culmination of more than 70 years of struggle by woman suffragists. Its two sections read simply: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” and “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
America’s woman suffrage movement was founded in the mid 19th century by women who had become politically active through their work in the abolitionist and temperance movements. In July 1848, 200 woman suffragists, organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, met in Seneca Falls, New York, to discuss women’s rights. After approving measures asserting the right of women to educational and employment opportunities, they passed a resolution that declared “it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.” For proclaiming a woman’s right to vote, the Seneca Falls Convention was subjected to public ridicule, and some backers of women’s rights withdrew their support. However, the resolution marked the beginning of the woman suffrage movement in America.
The first national women’s rights convention was held in 1850 and then repeated annually, providing an important focus for the growing woman suffrage movement. In the Reconstruction era, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted, granting African American men the right to vote, but Congress declined to expand enfranchisement into the sphere of gender. In 1869, the National Woman Suffrage Association was founded by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to push for a woman suffrage amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Another organization, the American Woman Suffrage Association, led by Lucy Stone, was formed in the same year to work through the state legislatures. In 1890, these two groups were united as the National American Woman Suffrage Association. That year, Wyoming became the first state to grant women the right to vote.
By the beginning of the 20th century, the role of women in American society was changing drastically: Women were working more, receiving a better education, bearing fewer children, and three more states (Colorado, Utah, and Idaho) had yielded to the demand for female enfranchisement. In 1916, the National Woman’s Party (formed in 1913 at the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage) decided to adopt a more radical approach to woman suffrage. Instead of questionnaires and lobbying, its members picketed the White House, marched, and staged acts of civil disobedience.
In 1917, America entered World War I, and women aided the war effort in various capacities, which helped to break down most of the remaining opposition to woman suffrage. By 1918, women had acquired equal suffrage with men in 15 states, and both the Democratic and Republican parties openly endorsed female enfranchisement.
In January 1918, the woman suffrage amendment passed the House of Representatives with the necessary two-thirds majority vote. In June 1919, it was approved by the Senate sent to the states for ratification. Campaigns were waged by suffragists around the country to secure ratification, and on August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment. On August 26, it was formally adopted into the Constitution by proclamation of Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby.
On this day in 1973, “American Graffiti,” a nostalgic coming-of-age tale set on the streets and steeped in the car-centric culture of suburban California, is released in theaters across the United States. The movie went on to become a sleeper hit.
“American Graffiti” was the second full-length feature film directed by George Lucas, who would later become best known for the blockbuster hit “Star Wars” (1977) and its sequels. Set in 1962, “American Graffiti” follows a group of teenage friends who meet in the parking lot of a local drive-in restaurant on the last night before two of them (played by Richard Dreyfuss and Ron Howard) plan to leave town to go to college. They spend much of the night cruising the streets of their hometown of Modesto, California (where Lucas himself grew up and developed an early passion for automobiles and car racing), in cars ranging from a yellow “deuce coupe” (a slang term for the 1932 Ford Model B coupe) to a 1958 Chevy Impala, while some of the film’s most memorable scenes feature a white 1955 Ford Thunderbird driven by a mysterious blonde.
Released in 1973–the same year in which an embargo declared by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) sparked an international oil crisis–“American Graffiti” was the first in a series of movies and television shows that evoked nostalgia for the more carefree days of the 1950s and early ’60s and the iconic cars that defined the era. The oil crisis of 1973 would usher in an era of hard times for the American automobile industry, including a surge in sales of foreign-made cars, but many Americans took comfort in the glamorous image of driving–or “cruising”–that “American Graffiti”celebrated.
The 1970s saw a boom in classic-car restoration, even as more and more Americans were driving Japanese imports. The era also saw an increasing number of “lowriders”–or classic cars or trucks with suspensions that had been modified so that they rode as low to the ground as possible. According to an Associated Press article about a 2008 exhibition at L.A.’s Petersen Automotive Museum called “La Vida Lowrider,” lowriding as a pastime spread outwards from Hispanic neighborhoods in the southwestern United States in the 1970s, and later caught on with enthusiasts as far away as Europe and Asia. This boom in the 1970s was triggered largely by movies such as “American Graffiti,” “Corvette Summer”(1978) and “Boulevard Nights” (1979) and TV shows like “Chico and the Man” (1974-78). In 1975, the band War scored a hit with their single “Low Rider,” which channeled the same cool, cruising suburban culture that made “American Graffiti” a hit.
From The History Channel
After a decade of debate about how best to spend a bequest left to America from an obscure English scientist, President James K. Polk signs the Smithsonian Institution Act into law.
In 1829, James Smithson died in Italy, leaving behind a will with a peculiar footnote. In the event that his only nephew died without any heirs, Smithson decreed that the whole of his estate would go to “the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Smithson’s curious bequest to a country that he had never visited aroused significant attention on both sides of the Atlantic.
Smithson had been a fellow of the venerable Royal Society of London from the age of 22, publishing numerous scientific papers on mineral composition, geology, and chemistry. In 1802, he overturned popular scientific opinion by proving that zinc carbonates were true carbonate minerals, and one type of zinc carbonate was later named smithsonite in his honor.
Six years after his death, his nephew, Henry James Hungerford, indeed died without children, and on July 1, 1836, the U.S. Congress authorized acceptance of Smithson’s gift. President Andrew Jackson sent diplomat Richard Rush to England to negotiate for transfer of the funds, and two years later Rush set sail for home with 11 boxes containing a total of 104,960 gold sovereigns, 8 shillings, and 7 pence, as well as Smithson’s mineral collection, library, scientific notes, and personal effects. After the gold was melted down, it amounted to a fortune worth well over $500,000. After considering a series of recommendations, including the creation of a national university, a public library, or an astronomical observatory, Congress agreed that the bequest would support the creation of a museum, a library, and a program of research, publication, and collection in the sciences, arts, and history. On August 10, 1846, the act establishing the Smithsonian Institution was signed into law by President James K. Polk.
Today, the Smithsonian is composed of 19 museums and galleries including the recently announced National Museum of African American History and Culture,nine research facilities throughout the United States and the world, and the national zoo. Besides the original Smithsonian Institution Building, popularly known as the “Castle,” visitors to Washington, D.C., tour the National Museum of Natural History, which houses the natural science collections, the National Zoological Park, and the National Portrait Gallery. The National Museum of American History houses the original Star-Spangled Banner and other artifacts of U.S. history. The National Air and Space Museum has the distinction of being the most visited museum in the world, exhibiting such marvels of aviation and space history as the Wright brothers’ plane and Freedom 7, the space capsule that took the first American into space. John Smithson, the Smithsonian Institution’s great benefactor, is interred in a tomb in the Smithsonian Building.
From The History Channel
Like his band the Grateful Dead, which was still going strong three decades after its formation, Jerry Garcia defied his life-expectancy not merely by surviving, but by thriving creatively and commercially into the 1990s–far longer than most of his peers. His long, strange trip came to an end, however, on this day in 1995, when he died of a heart attack in a residential drug-treatment facility in Forest Knolls, California. A legendary guitarist and true cultural icon, Jerry Garcia was 53 years old.
Jerome John Garcia was born on August 1, 1942 and raised primarily in San Francisco’s Excelsior District, about five miles south of his and his band’s famous future residence at 710 Ashbury Street. Trained formally on the piano as a child, Garcia picked up the instrument he’d make his living with at the age of 15, when he convinced his mother to replace the accordion she’d bought him as a birthday gift with a Danelectro electric guitar. Five years later, after brief stints in art school and the Army, and after surviving a deadly automobile accident in 1961, Jerry Garcia began to pursue a musical career in earnest, playing with various groups that were part of San Francisco’s bluegrass and folk scene. By 1965, he had joined up with bassist Phil Lesh, rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, organist Ron “Pigpen” McKernan and drummer Bill Kreutzman in a group originally called the Warlocks and later renamed “the Grateful Dead.”
From their early gig as the house band at Ken Kesey’s famous Acid Tests, the Dead was a defining part of San Francisco’s burgeoning hippie counterculture scene. They would go on to play at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and at Woodstock in 1969, but as big as they were in the 60s and 70s, the Grateful Dead grew even more popular and successful as the decade they helped to define slipped further into the past. Indeed, during the final decade of Jerry Garcia’s life, following his recovery from a five-day diabetic coma in 1986, the Dead played an average of 100 to 150 live shows per year, frequently to sold-out audiences that included a significant proportion of tie-dye-wearing college students who were not yet alive when the Grateful Dead first made their name.
From The History Channel
On this day in 1988, the Chicago Cubs host the first night game in the history of Wrigley Field.
The first-ever night game in professional baseball took place nearly 60 years earlier, on May 2, 1930, when a Des Moines, Iowa, team hosted Wichita for a Western League game. The match-up drew 12,000 people at a time when Des Moines was averaging just 600 fans per game. Evening games soon became popular in the minors: As minor league ball clubs were routinely folding in the midst of the Great Depression, adaptable owners found the innovation a key to staying in business. The major leagues, though, took five years to catch up to their small-town counterparts.
The first big league night game took place in Cincinnati, Ohio, on May 24, 1935, and drew 25,000 fans. The crowd stood by as President Franklin D. Roosevelt symbolically switched on the lights from Washington, D.C. To capitalize on their new evening fan base, the Reds played a night game that year against every National League team–eight games in total–and despite their lousy record of 68-85, paid attendance rose 117 percent.
Over the next 13 seasons, the rest of the major league parks followed suit, with one exception, Wrigley Field, which by 1988 was the second oldest ballpark in use after Boston’s Fenway Park. For 74 seasons, the Cubs played only day games at home. Finally, on August 8, 1988, the Cubs played the Philadelphia Phillies in the park’s first night game. Ninety-one-year-old Cubs fan Harry Grossman was chosen to turn on the lights. After counting to three, he flipped the switch, and announced “Let there be light.”
Rick Sutcliffe started the game for the Cubs, and gave up a home run to Phil Bradley of the Phillies on his fourth pitch. The Cubs’ star second baseman Ryne Sandberg answered with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning, and with the Cubs leading in the bottom of the fourth inning 3-1, the game was called due to rain. Because the five innings needed for the game to be official were not completed, Wrigley’s first night game is officially recorded as a 6-4 win over the New York Mets on August 9, 1988.
Today, the Cubs are the only major league team that still plays the majority of its home games during the day.
From the Atlantic Missile Range in Cape Canaveral, Florida, the U.S. unmanned spacecraft Explorer 6 is launched into an orbit around the earth. The spacecraft, commonly known as the “Paddlewheel” satellite, featured a photocell scanner that transmitted a crude picture of the earth’s surface and cloud cover from a distance of 17,000 miles. The photo, received in Hawaii, took nearly 40 minutes to transmit.
Released by NASA in September, the first photograph ever taken of the earth by a U.S. satellite depicted a crescent shape of part of the planet in sunlight. It was Mexico, captured by Explorer 6 as it raced westward over the earth at speeds in excess of 20,000 miles an hour.
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On this day in 1911, Lucille Desiree Ball, one of America’s most famous redheads and beloved comic actresses, is born near Jamestown, New York.
At age 15, Ball went to New York City to attend drama school and become an actress. However, she received little encouragement and was rejected multiple times from Broadway chorus lines. After waitressing and working as a hat model, Ball was hired in 1933 as the Chesterfield Cigarette Girl. Around this time, she began playing bit parts in Hollywood movies. She went on to leading roles in dozens of B-movies in the late 1930s and 1940s. In 1940, Ball met the Cuban bandleader Desi Arnaz while shootingToo Many Girls and the couple soon eloped.
From 1947 to 1951, Ball starred as a ditzy wife on the radio program My Favorite Husband. When CBS decided to launch the popular series on the relatively new medium of TV, Lucy insisted that Arnaz be cast as her husband in the TV version. Network executives initially argued against the idea, arguing that no one would believe the couple were married. However, Ball and Arnaz were eventually cast as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo in I Love Lucy, which aired from 1951 to 1957 and became one of the most popular TV sitcoms in history. According to Ball’s obituary in The New York Times: “It was a major national event when, on Jan. 19, 1953, Lucy Ricardo gave birth to Little Ricky on the air the same night Lucille Ball gave birth to her second child, Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha 4th. The audience for the episode was estimated at 44 million, a record at the time, and CBS said 1 million viewers responded with congratulatory telephone calls, telegrams, letters or gifts.”
The success of I Love Lucy turned the couple’s production company, Desilu, into a multimillion-dollar business. Ball and Arnaz divorced in 1960, and their professional collaboration also ended. Arnaz died in 1986. Ball also starred in several other “Lucy” programs, including The Lucy Show, which debuted in 1962 and ran for six seasons, and Here’s Lucy, in which she starred with her two children; the show was cancelled in 1974. A later show, Life with Lucy, featuring Lucy as a grandmother, was cancelled after only eight episodes in 1986. Ball died at age 77 on April 26, 1989. In 2001, the U.S. Postal Service honored her with a commemorative stamp.
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Television, rock and roll and teenagers. In the late 1950s, when television and rock and roll were new and when the biggest generation in American history was just about to enter its teens, it took a bit of originality to see the potential power in this now-obvious combination. The man who saw that potential more clearly than any other was a 26-year-old native of upstate New York named Dick Clark, who transformed himself and a local Philadelphia television program into two of the most culturally significant forces of the early rock-and-roll era. His iconic show, American Bandstand, began broadcasting nationally on this day in 1957, beaming images of clean-cut, average teenagers dancing to the not-so-clean-cut Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” to 67 ABC affiliates across the nation.
ABBA in 1975
The show that evolved into American Bandstand began on Philadephia’s WFIL-TV in 1952, a few years before the popular ascension of rock and roll. Hosted by local radio personality Bob Horn, the original Bandstand nevertheless established much of the basic format of its later incarnation. In the first year after Dick Clark took over as host in the summer of 1956, Bandstand remained a popular local hit, but it took Clark’s ambition to help it break out. When the ABC television network polled its affiliates in 1957 for suggestions to fill its 3:30 p.m. time slot, Clark pushed hard for Bandstand, which network executives picked up and scheduled for an August 5, 1957 premiere.
Renamed American Bandstand, the newly national program featured a number of new elements that became part of its trademark, including the high school gym-like bleachers and the famous segment in which teenage studio guests rated the newest records on a scale from 25 to 98 and offered such criticisms as “It’s got a good beat, and you can dance to it.” But the heart of American Bandstand always remained the sound of the day’s most popular music combined with the sight of the show’s unpolished teen “regulars” dancing and showing off the latest fashions in clothing and hairstyles.
American Bandstand aired five days a week in live national broadcast until 1963, when the show moved west to Los Angeles and began a 24-year run as a taped weekly program with Dick Clark as host.